The Bayer Family

Let us introduce you to one of our families that jumped feet first into inter-racial adoption. We hope their story answers many of the questions you’re asking yourself, and sets your mind and heart at ease about the possibility of adopting interracially. Meet the Bayer Family.

The Bayer Family
The Bayer Family

What do you want families who are considering adopting interracially to know?

As technology and globalization evolve, our world is only getting more and more diverse. Interracial adoption is not a trailblazing idea anymore. There are many ways to connect with other families, seek out diverse opportunities, and grow as a family. Knowing before marriage that we may not have biological children, we did know we wanted a family, and decided to embrace the journey to parenthood through adoption. We did have some honest and serious discussions between ourselves, speaking open, and honestly about our perceptions and feeling of race, adoption, and life. Moments of the conversation felt uncomfortably honest, shining a new angle on ourselves. This was an essential part of the process. However, reminiscing on those conversations we look back and realize the anxieties that we felt, while real, were unjustified and unnecessarily amplified.

What have you learned from your adoption and parenting journey?

Adoption and parenting in general have been life changing events that have pushed us to be lifelong learners. Our parental instinct is strong, and we feel like our view on the world has changed and diversified…in more than one way. We are certainly in a very different place and mindset in life than when we met 12 years ago. Now, having first-hand experience with the everyday challenges of parenting, we also attempt to stay cognizant of the additional complexity of being an interracial family and adoption.

Is it possible to feel connected to a child of a different race?

We have experienced intense bonding and attachment in the adoption of our children. Our emotional capabilities as human beings allow these connections to occur naturally. They are our children and we have never had feeling of “this doesn’t feel right” or “they look different than us”. Although it is unfair to claim there was never hesitation, worry, or concern. On our journey to adopt our second daughter, we had a failed adoption. We were matched at 35-weeks, and when she delivered 4-weeks later, the birth mom decided not place her baby for adoption. We knew and respected the fact that this was her moral and legal decision, however we did grieve. The grieving process was different than previous grief we had experienced on our journey to parenthood. Now I ponder thoughts of what my children’s perceptions of growing up in an interracial feel like. How will they perceive race within our society when they are my age? What type of role model and catalyst do I want to be?

How much does appearance really matter

Personally, we don’t think appearance matters. It has not affected our family, and we attempt to wear our diversity with pride. Outside of our family, however, we do get questions & glances from people in the community, as they are naturally curious about our situation. Occasionally we are asked innocent questions about our family while we are out shopping or dining, and while often harmless, they can sometimes be uncomfortable. We are still working through how to best handle some of these moments of unwarranted attention.

In what ways do you attempt to provide experiences tied to your children’s cultural roots?

We have had to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. We do feel living in Kansas we often need to seek out multi-cultural events and opportunities, staying vigilant in expanding our family’s exposure to diversity. We have embraced the experience and the personal challenge to grow as a family. This is a life long journey based on love, family, and respect. As long as you are open and excited to put forth the effort, it will expand your cultural understanding and your relationship with your child.

What will black women think of me when they see me with a black child?

Megan — I think I was more concerned about this than Dave. I worried about being judged on how I cared for my children’s hair and the color of my skin, as well as the behavior of my toddler. While there are always people who are going to judge me as a parent, my personal experience has been overwhelmingly positive! When our friends found out we were adopting our oldest daughter, a beautiful full African American baby girl, they would often question how I planned to handle her hair. I was asked this so often, that I grew annoyed with the questions and I made it my personal mission to learn the proper techniques on how to do my daughter’s hair. With that said, early on there were times that I would have to take my girls out in public with their hair not completely finished and looking a little crazy, and that did make me feel a little bit uncomfortable. I thought that black women would look at me and think, “that white lady knows nothing about doing black hair” when in actuality, I can anchor yarn extensions! I now have more confidence in my skills as a mom and as an interracial family. With regard to hair, I have taken ownership of that process, maybe to an obsessive level, and it has become a family ordeal, with Dave helping detangle, take out styles, and with daily hair maintenance. In a home with two working parents it does require some planning, but we are happy to put in the extra effort. I am so happy we have spent the time to learn, it is a wonderful time to bond and a gift I can give my girls.

How do we tell our family and friends we are adopting interracially?

This is a perfect opportunity to have a real discussion about race with your close friends and family. How you start that conversation will vary among families. Have a discussion in a safe environment where everyone can express their feelings, and talk about race openly and frequently. Approaching it this way will open the door to a richer experience than you can imagine. Dave’s mom, was concerned about using respectful words when referring to “black” or “African American”, how to answer questions about her interracial grandchild, and about what color of baby dolls to buy. She never had concerns about our children’s actual race.

Did you have any fears about telling your family about your interracial adoption?

We fortunately did not have any fears discussing this with our family. There may be some distant relatives that would not approve, but that is the reason they are distant, and have limited impact on our family. Even if some immediate family had felt differently, we do not believe this would have swayed our decision. While our decision would have complicated our relationship with that family member, it was our decision. Yes, it may have raised concerns regarding my child’s acceptance and treatment, by those unaccepting individuals in the family, but, unfortunately there are no easy answers for these. Ultimately our experience has been amazing and overwhelmingly positive; we feel blessed for this Journey!

What has been the greatest joy and challenge of adopting interracially?

The greatest joy is getting to experience and love the most amazing girls, and a feeling of true hope for the world. Some weekend mornings when we are all giggling in bed, we wonder how exactly we got so lucky! The most challenging aspect is pushing ourselves to become better people for our family and personally: moving out of our comfort zone; growing our understanding of our own race history, our children’s race history, and the interactions between them in our current diverse society.